Lee walks a lonely road

We play a lot of games here at EGM. So many, that as much as we may enjoy a game, fall in love with its characters, or gush about its premise, it’s difficult for us to find the time to ever get back to a game after we beat it that initial time through for review, unless we make a concentrated effort. After playing just the third of five episodes to be released by Telltale in their The Walking Dead series though, I swear I will make that effort and find time to play this through from the beginning once all five episodes are out. Episode Three, The Long Road Ahead, sealed the deal because the story is just that damn good and I don’t just want, but need to play through it all again to see how some of the critical, and even no so critical, choices I’ve made so far have affected my game play experience.

And that’s the beauty of what Telltale has crafted here. The replayability for this game is through the roof because they successfully found a way to consistently make you care about these characters via every decision you make, because you don’t want to end up regretting something. And this is mostly because the zombie apocalypse, much like in Kirkman’s original Walking Dead comics, is just a setting as this franchise has always really been more about the human condition and how people react in crisis. And this episode is no exception. There were literally moments that had me laughing out loud followed up immediately by moments that shocked me so much I dropped my controller. There are few other stories in gaming that have ever sucked me in and wowed me like this series has with its brilliant plot development.

Speaking of plot, this episode starts about three months after since Lee and Clementine had their fateful meet-up outside her tree house and the Motel has all but run its course in terms of usefulness. Lilly and Kenny are still at each other’s throats, with the events of Episode Two having only driven them further and further apart, culminating in Lilly refusing to leave and Kenny ready to just barrel out of there in his RV with just his family. The title, The Long Road Ahead, kind of hints at what happens, but I can’t in good conscience tell you more about the story. Not to mention, I’m sure that depending on the decisions that you make in the first two episodes, your story might set up completely different from mine beyond that.

The pacing of the episode was a lot quicker this time around and transitioned better, a major problem I had with the more leisurely paced Episode Two, and so in that regard The Long Road Ahead took a nice step forward as I was constantly progressing it seemed by doing even the most menial tasks.

There was one minor annoyance this time around though and it came in the form of a shooting gallery mini-game where Lee was wielding a sniper rifle. I understand Lee may not be the best shot in the world, but I felt like I could never line up my shot just right because of the lack of proper crosshairs and the controls’ sensitivity. This can be somewhat forgiven though since, after all, Telltale’s The Walking Dead is more of a point and click style adventure game and not some Call of Duty-like shooter.

Once again though, the key for me was seeing the evolution of the characters over just one episode, and how the group dynamic shifted as the roster of characters changed once again, sometimes very rapidly. If you care about The Walking Dead, zombie games, or just spectacular storytelling, The Long Road Ahead will hook you to this series if you weren’t already. And if you were hooked to begin with, then you’re like me probably, begging Telltale to get on it and release the next episode already.

SUMMARY: Somehow, Telltale finds a way to keep working in emotionally powerful moments with this series that range from humorous to heart wrenching. Either way, these moments make only one thought come to mind…that we can’t wait for the next episode!

  • THE GOOD: Finds a way to yet again amp up the emotion and consequences for your actions
  • THE BAD: A couple of rough/out of place shooting sequences
  • THE UGLY: The human condition

SCORE: 9.0

The Walking Dead: Episode 3 – The Long Road Ahead is available on XBLA (Xbox 360), PSN (PS3), and PC. Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.